While serving on the Miami-Dade County School Board, Congresswoman Dr. Frederica S. Wilson noticed a pattern of young minority young men being incarcerated, entering the drug trade, or dropping out of school.
Congresswoman Wilson began to challenge the men of Miami-Dade County to intervene in the lives of “at-risk” youth. Thus, in March 1993, initiated by the Miami-Dade County School Board, the 500 African American Male Role Models of Excellence was born. Wilson’s vision gained immediate response from the community and continues to serve as a major force in the transition of raising young boys into manhood. In 1994 the name was converted to the 500 Role Models of Excellence Project. Due to the increased enrollment of mentors and students, it is now recognized as the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project.
During the 2015-2016 school year, The 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project was initiated in Duval County Public Schools to serve 10 Duval middle and high schools. During the 2016-2017 school year one middle school and one high school was added to include 12 total sites. Our sites will also expand during the 2018-2019 school year with another additional middle school and a high school for a total of 14 sites.
The 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project will recruit 5,000 community mentors over a 10 year period (500 mentors annually) to serve as role models for young African-American males. The students identified to participate in the program will benefit from various academic and behavioral supports. Young men from grades 6 - 12 will participate in various cultural and educational experiences such as visits to college campuses, etiquette workshops, and job and career building trainings. Students will also serve as ambassadors for the program and the school district throughout the City of Jacksonville. Each school has a 5000 Role Models of Excellence Site Director who serves as club sponsors to facilitate speakers, field trips, and assist in mentor recruitment.
Expected outcomes include improved academic performance, reduced truancy, fewer referrals and suspensions, and increased pathways to success through mentoring and diverse experiences.